As the consequences of climate change become harder to ignore, government regulations regarding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will inevitably become stricter around the world, almost certainly with pricing mechanisms designed to discourage emissions. Many question how heavy regulation in one country can be effective if other countries don’t have the same standards. And is regulating certain industry sectors such as energy going to be enough if other sectors continue to produce significant GHG emissions?
Those are difficult questions to answer. But central to the subject is another question that we can readily answer: Who’s doing the polluting? Knowing the answer to that question in terms of type of GHG, industry sector, and geographic region enables a better understanding of the potential value of various proposed regulations to reduce GHG emissions. Here are the numbers, as provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
This look at who’s doing the polluting clearly suggests that to reduce GHG emissions in any meaningful way, regulatory focus will need to be on companies in the energy sector that produce significant amounts of carbon dioxide in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Does that describe your business? If so, these numbers can’t be ignored. Society isn’t going to ignore them, and there will be substantial cost impacts on your operations. Now is the time to prepare. In a future blog, we’ll focus specifically on pollution by sector.